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Replaceable vs rechargeable hearing aid batteries

Deciding between these two hearing aid battery types is an important factor to consider when shopping for your ideal hearing aid.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ruth Reisman

Written by

Beth Ann Mayer

Updated:

May 13, 2024

A person changes the battery in their hearing aid. A person changes the battery in their hearing aid.

The 3 key takeaways

    • Rechargeable hearing aids are still relatively new — While rechargeable batteries have been around for some time, the use of lithium-ion batteries in rechargeable hearing aids first entered the market space in 2016.
    • Disposable button batteries are affordable and easy to find — A pack of six disposable batteries often costs as little as a few dollars at many retail stores and pharmacies.
    • People with dexterity issues may prefer rechargeable batteries — Disposable hearing aid batteries are notoriously small and can be difficult to handle.

Comparing key features of hearing aids is critical when it comes to making an important decision about your hearing health. At some stage, all hearing aids will run out of power and will either require new batteries or need to be recharged.

Whether you choose the disposable or rechargeable route, consider that each type of hearing aid battery has pros and cons. Always talk with your audiologist about your lifestyle and specific hearing needs when considering a new hearing aid.

Rechargeable hearing aid batteries

In recent years, hearing aids with rechargeable batteries have become more popular and therefore more accessible. They have replaced the need for small button batteries that were commonly found in many hearing aids types, which are known to be difficult for people with dexterity issues to handle.

Rechargeable hearing aid batteries eliminate the need for purchasing and replacing batteries on a weekly basis, as they are easily recharged at home whenever it’s convenient for the user.

The battery life of rechargeable hearing aid batteries

When considering rechargeable batteries, users should take into account how long they hold a charge and how long the battery itself will last. Most of the rechargeable hearing aids on the market today will hold a charge for 18 to upwards of 30 hours.

However, certain features—such as Bluetooth—may drain the battery faster. Rechargeable hearing aids are designed to be charged overnight every night, similar to a cell phone.

Rechargeable hearing aids contain a lithium-ion battery, which tends to last for five to six years before needing to be replaced. Since many people tend to get new hearing aids every few years, it might be time for a new pair before the rechargeable battery stops functioning.

How to charge your hearing aid batteries

Rechargeable hearing aids come with their own unique docking station for easy and efficient charging. By placing both the left and right hearing aids in their designated slots, the docking station will fully recharge your devices quickly, often in just a few hours.

Most stations have a blinking light to show they are charging and a steady light to let you know the hearing aids are fully charged.

Rechargeable over-the-counter hearing aids

Rechargeable prescription hearing aids

Replaceable hearing aid batteries

Zinc-air button batteries, or ‘button batteries’ have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. These batteries come in a variety of sizes based on the hearing aid and are activated once the zinc portion of the battery comes into contact with oxygen.

The battery is usually packaged with a sticker or tab that must be pulled off when it’s ready to be inserted and used. Once the battery is exposed to air, it is activated and must be used. There is no way to replace the tab or sticker and save the battery for another time once it has been opened.

Audiologists usually recommend waiting one minute after opening the button battery to allow it to activate before inserting the battery into the hearing aid.

Sizes and types of replaceable hearing aid batteries

Button batteries come in four different sizes, each with their own corresponding color to make purchasing simple. Some button batteries last only a few days, while others can last up to two weeks or longer. This depends on the model of the hearing aid and its features and functions.

Size Color Typical uses Lifespan
675< Blue Power BTE hearing aids 9-20 days
13 Orange BTE hearing aids
ITE hearing aids
6-14 days
312 Brown Mini BTE hearing aids
RITE hearing aids
ITC hearing aids
3-10 days
10 Yellow Mini RITE hearing aids
CIC hearing aids
3-10 days

Extending the life of your hearing aid battery

Always check the expiration date before purchasing disposable batteries to make sure they are new. It’s best to keep the batteries in their original packaging until you are ready to use them. This will eliminate the chance of the zinc-air battery being activated before the desired time.

Certain hearing aid features, such as streaming and Bluetooth, will drain the battery life faster, so consider this when using your hearing aids. Additionally, many audiologists recommend opening the battery doors at night when you are not wearing your hearing aids.

This shuts off your device and stops the battery from running unnecessarily. It also allows you to check the battery for moisture and wipe away any that may be present.

The best places to purchase hearing aid batteries

Shoppers can find button batteries at most major retail stores and pharmacies. The best place to pick up new batteries is any store where you regularly shop. Some websites, such as HearingDirect.com, eliminate the need to be reminded about buying new batteries.

Simply set up a subscription service and new batteries will be delivered every few weeks or months, as needed.

Environmental and safety tips

Where you store your extra batteries will also affect their shelf life. It’s recommended you store disposable batteries at room temperature since extreme temperatures and humidity can impact their functioning. Avoid storing them in the car or bathroom. Also, try to avoid contact between batteries and other metal objects, such as car keys and coins, as this can short out the battery.

Each person’s hearing journey is unique and will require tools that are as individual as they are.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to which hearing aid and battery type are best. Take into account factors including how you use your hearing aids, your lifestyle, and your degree of hearing loss when talking to your audiologist about these options.

Frequently asked questions

When should I change my hearing aid battery?

Hearing aids with disposable batteries will give the user a warning beep to alert them that the batteries need to be replaced. If you use two hearing aids, it’s recommended to change the batteries in both at the same time.

Are rechargeable batteries better for the environment?

Yes, most disposable batteries end up in a landfill, so rechargeable batteries are better for the environment since they last much longer. Some audiologist offices offer hearing aid battery recycling services.

How long do rechargeable hearing aid batteries last?

A single charge of rechargeable hearing aid batteries often provides between 18 to 24 hours of battery life. This will depend on the specific hearing aid and which functions are utilized.

What battery size does my hearing aid take?

Hearing aid batteries come in four sizes. You can find out what size battery you need from the information packet that came with your hearing aids or by asking your audiologist.